TONY HETHERINGTON: National Grid Gas bonds are a lot of hot air

Tony Hetherington is Financial Mail on Sunday’s ace investigator, fighting readers corners, revealing the truth that lies behind closed doors and winning victories for those who have been left out-of-pocket. Find out how to contact him below. 

M.L. writes: I am sending you details of an investment I have been offered. 

It appears to come from Credit Suisse, offering bonds from National Grid Gas yielding 8.75 per cent. 

Is this for real, or is it a scam? 

Tony Hetherington replies: Let’s get straight to the point: it’s a scam. The cunning part is that these bonds do exist. They were issued many years ago and mature in 2025, so if you Google them, you will find they are real. 

However, the only way to get your hands on them today is through the stock market, where you would have to pay a lot more than face value so would get a lot less than 8.75 per cent. The fraudsters who called you and then emailed the details have dressed this up to look like a savings account.

Digging deep: The gas bonds were issued – but many years ago

They have faked the Credit Suisse letterhead and logo and told you that your investment is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. They even say: ‘You can make additional deposits into your new account throughout the entire period of your investment.’

In reality, there is no account.

The crooks say they are at 1 Cabot Square in Canary Wharf in London. This is the address of the real Credit Suisse, but when I contacted it earlier this week it was clear the investment offer was not from the bank.

A spokesman told me: ‘There has been an increase in recent years of consumers being targeted by fraudsters who are exploiting the brands of international banks, sometimes through the use of fake websites or impersonating employees.

‘Credit Suisse actively plays its part in protecting people who are being targeted by fraudsters to prevent them suffering financial harm, and to help maintain the integrity of the financial markets.’

The bank is investigating and may take action to shut down the fraudsters’ website. In fact, this scam is so new that the fraudsters have not even set up a proper website. 

– Read This is Money’s Beat the Scammers for more news stories

They are just using their web address for emails to prospective victims. Their emails come from cs-asset – an address that was registered just two weeks ago, with fees paid for only one year’s use, showing the crooks do not plan to stick around.

Beware too of being tricked into calling the crooks on the number they are using: 0207 043 4509. This does not belong to the real Credit Suisse.

When I rang to invite the tricksters to comment, they were polite and friendly, right up to the moment they asked for my name. When I told them, the line went dead. I wonder why.

National Grid was given details of the fraud involving the use of its name and bonds.

Letters from HMRC make no sense to me

D.H. writes: In March 2021, I applied to HM Revenue & Customs for part of my wife’s unused tax allowance to be transferred to me for future and previous years. Revenue & Customs transferred this going forward, but said checks were needed for previous years. 

In December 2021, staff wrote, saying I had not filed a self-assessment tax return for 2020. I reminded them I had retired and my income was taxed at source. I was told to disregard the letter. 

Since then, I have had three letters, one saying I had no tax liability for 2018-19, one demanding £267 for the same year, and a third enclosing a cheque for £10 with no explanation.

Payback: The taxman has coughed up a further £224 in refunds going back to 2016

Payback: The taxman has coughed up a further £224 in refunds going back to 2016

Tony Hetherington replies: As I discovered myself recently, tax staff dealing with self-assessment and staff dealing with Pay As You Earn are not the same. Staff told me they do not even have access to each other’s records. It is a recipe for chaos, confirmed when the same post brought me two Revenue & Customs letters, one saying the taxman owed me about £900 but was keeping it to cover tax due soon, while the other told me my PAYE deductions were to rocket to collect exactly the same £900.

When you chased the tax office about earlier year refunds due to you, the answer was that your claims were too old to be valid. This was nonsense. You had made the claims 16 months earlier, when they were valid. You won a refund of £670.      

After I questioned this, staff admitted that the £267 demand was simply wrong. They owed you £10, hence the cheque. Revenue & Customs told me: ‘We have apologised to Mr H for providing incorrect advice when he contacted us’. And the taxman has coughed up a further £224 in refunds going back to 2016.

Delay in pension rise

C.A. writes: Following a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions, I paid £1,580 six months ago to HMRC as voluntary National Insurance contributions. 

This was to increase my state pension, but despite writing and calling DWP monthly since then, I have had no increase. 

It appears DWP and HMRC do not communicate effectively.

It's good to talk: It appears DWP and HMRC do not communicate effectively

It’s good to talk: It appears DWP and HMRC do not communicate effectively

Tony Hetherington replies: The letter you received from DWP said that if you paid the extra contributions, your state pension would rise by more than £10 a week.

I asked officials at DWP to look into why you had not been paid. They reviewed your state pension entitlement and have increased it by just over £15 a week. A spokesman told me: ‘We apologise for the delay in processing Mr A’s voluntary National Insurance contributions. His updated state pension award has now been finalised’. You have also received arrears of £232. Excellent.

If you believe you are the victim of financial wrongdoing, write to Tony Hetherington at Financial Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TS or email Because of the high volume of enquiries, personal replies cannot be given. Please send only copies of original documents, which we regret cannot be returned.